Our Whole Lives (OWL)
The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to avoid on-site programming until it is safe for everyone to participate. Our Whole Lives curriculums are not currently designed for online use. The Religious Education Staff has created a plan to ensure that all 8th and 9th grade youth have the opportunity to take OWL with an appropriate class group once meetings in the church building resume. During the 2020-21 Church Year, 8th graders are invited to join 6th-8th grade Crossing Paths, and 9th graders are invited to join the High School Youth Group.
The Our Whole Lives Program
First Church proudly offers Our Whole Lives (OWL), the nationally renowned human sexuality curriculum developed in collaboration by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.
Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, society, and culture.
Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. OWL’s human sexuality curriculum is grounded in the values of respect, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity. It helps young people apply these values to their behavior and provides them with information and skills to use throughout life.
Our OWL teachers are members of the church who volunteer to become trained sex educators who work closely with religious education staff and parents. We recognize that parents and primary caregivers are the most influential educators in a child’s life and require that parents attend an orientation for each OWL class their child participates in. Additionally, church membership, regular attendance, respectful behavior and following our shared covenant is necessary to create a success OWL program and a requirement of all participants.
This year, we are offering OWL at two developmental levels – Kindergarten through 1st grade and 8th grade. OWL for Kindergarten through 1st grade will run at 11:00 a.m. from 10/6-12/8, with a mandatory parent meeting on 10/6 at 9:00 a.m. OWL for 8th graders is a year-long program.
Our Whole Lives transmits a great deal of valuable information, but more importantly, it promotes compassion and responsibility. As my 15-year-old told me, ‘Our Whole Lives does much more than teach us plumbing, Mom. It helps us to know what we should do in a difficult situation.”
— Sylvia Ann Hewlett | Chair, National Parenting Association
For more information on the First Church OWL program
Deb Solis, Youth Program Coordinator